Paul Cézanne, The Stove in the Studio, c.1865 – a new poem by Ciaran Carson

Detail from The Stove in the Studio, c. 1865 by Paul Cézanne. In the collection of the National Gallery, London. Photograph: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty

Detail from The Stove in the Studio, c. 1865 by Paul Cézanne. In the collection of the National Gallery, London. Photograph: Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty

 

Since I saw it first in 1993, how often have I thought
of Cézanne’s studio stove
And the great big potbellied cast-iron black cauldron
sitting squat on its top,
With God-knows-what seething away in its belly,
or sweet nothing’s in the pot,
And the back of a canvas on a pinewood stretcher
propped face to the wall
Behind the stove perhaps to dry, or not; and, hard to figure
from the chiaroscuro,
A little painting, or an artist’s palette; and that tiny palette,
would it be a sketch;
And a pottery pot on the floor; and another dim something
in the tiny room, all
Lit by the glow of a single red coal in the jaws of the coal-
black cast-iron stove?

Ciaran Carson’s poem is from his new collection Still Life
(Gallery Press)